RSCE Celebrates International Women’s Day: #GenerationEquality

womens day rsce entebbe
10 Mar 2020

RSCE Celebrates International Women’s Day: #GenerationEquality

On 6th March the RSCE along with other tenants of the Entebbe Support Base (ESB) celebrated International Women’s Day under the theme, “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights.”

To mark the day, staff gathered in the Kofi Annan Hall of the Regional Training and Conference Centre (RTCC) and shared ideas on what generation equality meant to them. Staff were festooned in a sea of blue with colourful pins showcasing the logo and theme for this year’s celebration.

The ESB Choir opened the ceremony with their beautiful, angelic voices and impressed the staff with inspiring and uplifting songs. The programme was hosted by one of the RSCE’s senior-most women, Ms. Benta Achieng Aseto, whose engaging style and light humour kept the audience entertained. Ms. Aseto acknowledged the hard work and dedication of Ms. Elise Aaland, Staff Welfare Officer and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the programme possible.

The opening remarks were given by the Deputy Chief of the RSCE, Ms. Nalini Contreras who passionately shared her story as a female employee and the struggles she had as a young mother balancing work and life. Ms. Contreras highlighted how she and other women in the organization had contributed to the progression of changes in policy in favour of working women over the years. The resounding theme in the Deputy’s speech was to challenge each person to find ways to contribute to making our homes, workplace, our communities and the world a more equal place.

Next up were a panel of discussants that comprised of both male and female colleagues who expounded on what this year’s theme meant for them and how one could and should get involved in realising it. The panel members included Mr. Matthieu Elombo; Ms. Marife Leal-Lalonde; Ms. Hanife Cakici and Mr. Sowedi Serumaga. The panellists opened up about their life experiences as leaders, husbands, wives and mothers.

Other highlights of the day included inspiring and powerful poetry by Ms. Regina Asinde from the Uganda Women Writers’ Association (FEMRITE); a presentation from Ms. Georgia Tumwesigye from the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) on the strides the country of Uganda has taken in working towards gender equality as well as booths  showcasing crafts and items by the Deborahz, a Christian women fellowship at the base, the Kampala Fair and FOWODE.

To cap off the day of celebrations closing remarks were provided by Mr. Paulin Djomo, Chief RSCE and visiting dignitaries Ms. Lisa Buttenheim, Assistant Secretary-General for Support Operations and Ms. Chhaya Kapilashrami, Director of the Human Resources Services Division.

In his message to staff, Mr. Djomo shared a story of how he supported his wife with their parental duties and reinforced the message that men should strive to support women to achieve equality. In her remarks, Ms. Kapilashrami shared a poignant story of her grandmother who inspired her to achieve success while Ms. Buttenheim’s remarks focused on this year’s theme evoking the Secretary-General’s remarks for International Women’s Day and further expounding on them. Throughout the ceremonies, all the speakers highlighted the fact that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but it is also a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The celebrations then concluded with cake cutting and refreshments.

Overall the day’s programme was a resounding success with staff actively participating in the question and answer sessions, beautiful music, inspiring speeches and poetry.

In the Secretary-General’s message to the UN, he noted “Going forward, I will do everything in my power to make sure women are represented in all decision-making at the United Nations, including in peace processes. I will also advocate with the Member States for the repealing of all discriminatory laws, for women’s equal participation in all spheres, for increased protection from violence, and for more inclusive economies. Gender equality is a means of redefining and transforming power that will yield benefits for all.  It is time to stop trying to change women, and to start changing the systems and power imbalances that prevent them from achieving their potential”.

The question now remains, what will we do individually and collectively to champion the realization of women’s rights within our own sphere of influence? Food for thought.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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A selection of pictures of the Women's Day event was posted on Facebook.